2 years, 10 months ago
So my oldest son Joshua calls me up and says to me, “Well, you were right. Look on Drudge right now. In the wake of the Arizona shooting, the White House is going to press for more gun control.” I responded that just as a leopard cannot change it spots, Obama cannot change himself. He is a statist and everything he does will be consistent with that worldview.
I had predicted to my son that the Obama administration will press for more gun control, which (I speculated) will include not only a ban on high capacity magazines, but a renewed “assault weapons” ban, extended waiting periods for any firearm – including long guns – and a whole host of other things. Time will tell the scope and breadth of the proposed legislation, but this should become more apparent within the next few weeks.
At the beginning of his State of the Union address, President Obama tipped his hat to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who’s now recuperating in a Houston medical facility. But throughout the hourlong speech, he never addressed the issue at the core of the Giffords tragedy—gun control—and what lawmakers would, or should, do to reform American firearm-access laws.
That was intentional, according to the White House. An administration official says Obama didn’t mention guns in his speech because of the omnipresent controversy surrounding the Second Amendment and gun control. Tuesday’s speech was designed to be more about the economy and how, as Obama repeated nine times, the U.S. could “win the future.”
But in the next two weeks, the White House will unveil a new gun-control effort in which it will urge Congress to strengthen current laws, which now allow some mentally unstable people, such as alleged Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, to obtain certain assault weapons, in some cases without even a background check.
Tuesday night after the speech, Obama adviser David Plouffe said to NBC News that the president would not let the moment after the Arizona shootings pass without pushing for some change in the law, to prevent another similar incident. “It’s a very important issue, and one I know there’s going to be debate about on the Hill.”
The White House said that to avoid being accused of capitalizing on the Arizona shootings for political gain, Obama will address the gun issue in a separate speech, likely early next month. He’s also expected to use Arizona as a starting point, but make the case that America’s gun laws have been too loose for much longer than just the past few weeks.
Even though Loughner used a pistol (Glock 9 mm) with an extended magazine, the administration will make a case for a renewed ban on every weapon that could possibly be placed in that category, including long guns. I had previously issued a challenge concerning extended magazines and other such bans of hand guns, posing the question whether such a ban is logically and constitutionally legitimate. To date there hasn’t been even a hint of success in supporting such a ban.
It doesn’t matter. In the spirit of Rahm Emanuel’s dictum never to let a crisis go to waste, the White House doesn’t want to appear to be capitalizing on the Arizona shooting, but intends to capitalize on the Arizona shooting.
UPDATE: I was right about the assault weapons ban.
“The president has been clear about his position on the assault-weapons ban, to use an example … back in the campaign, that’s been restated,” Mr. Plouffe said.
Candidate Obama supported reinstating the assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004 – and which included a ban on high-capacity magazines. But since becoming president, Obama has largely steered clear of the gun issue. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg chided Obama Wednesday for making no mention Tuesday of what he called “the broken background check system.”
Forget about high capacity magazines. Those will get swept up in the larger rubric of “assault weapons.” He’s going for bigger fish in this legislation.